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Italian Menu

5 ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
6-8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced* or chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more or less to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more or less to taste
1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
*To thinly slice basil leaves, stack the leaves on top of each other and roll up like a cigar. Then make thin slices from one end of the basil cigar to the other.

Blanch and peel the tomatoes: Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. As the water is heating make shallow cuts in a cross pattern at the tip ends of the tomatoes (this will make the tomatoes easier to peel).
Once the water is boiling, remove the pot from the heat. Put the tomatoes in the hot water and blanch for 1 minute.

Remove with a slotted spoon and let sit until cool enough to handle. Then gently peel off the tomato skins. Cut out the stem base with a paring knife.
Cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters and squeeze out most of the juices and seeds.

Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C) with a rack in the top slot of the oven.

Chop tomatoes, toss them with garlic, olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt and pepper: Finely chop the tomatoes and place them in a medium bowl. Mix in the minced garlic, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, and the balsamic vinegar.
Stir in the thinly sliced basil and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, adding more to taste. Note, tomatoes love salt; you may need to add more than you expect.

Toast the baguette slices: Use a bread knife to slice the baguette on the diagonal making half-inch thick slices. Brush one side of each slice with olive oil (a pastry brush helps here) and place olive oil-side down on a baking sheet or roasting pan.
The baguette slices will toast best in the top rack of your oven, so you may need to work in batches to toast them all.
When the oven has reached 450°F (230°C) place the slices in the oven on the top rack and toast for 5 to 6 minutes until lightly browned around the edges.

If you want you can toast the bread slices without coating them first in olive oil. Toast them until lightly browned on both sides. Then cut a clove of garlic in half and rub over one side of the toast. Then brush with olive oil.

Serve toasted bread with tomato mixture: Arrange the toasted bread on a platter, olive oil side facing up (the olive oil will help create a temporary barrier keeping the bread from getting soggy from the chopped tomatoes).
Either serve the toasts plain with a bowl of the tomato bruschetta mixture on the side for people to top their own, or use a spoon to gently top each toasted bread slice with some of the tomato mixture. If you top each slice individually, do it right before serving.

Homemade Red Sauce
1 Can crushed tomato
1 can tomato paste
1 onion diced-Vidalia
1 garlic clove
2 tsp of parsley, basil and oregano
1 tsp of sugar for sweetness
½ c of red wine
½ water

Saute onions in pan till translucent, add garlic but do not burn. Add balance of ingredients
and allow to reduce. Top on your favorite pasta

1 C cake flour
½ C All purpose flour
¼ C water
2 tsp of salt
1 ½ Tablespoon of oil
2 egg yolks

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend till a ball forms. Allow to rest for 15 mins and then roll out into a rectangle. Place in pasta cutter or cut with a knife. Add corn meal on top of freshly cut pasta.  Place into rapidly boiling water and allow water to boil up. Then continue boiling for 5 mins more or to taste. Drain and top with sauce.

Saute Chicken with sundried tomato and artichokes

1.5 lb chicken breast (thinly sliced)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour (you can use gluten free flour)
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 oz  artichoke hearts (drained)
6 oz sun-dried tomatoes
3 tablespoons capers (drained)
2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
3 tablespoons olive oil

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  On a large plate, dredge chicken in flour.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown for about 4 minutes until it turns nice golden color. Flip the chicken over to the other side and brown the other side for about 4 minutes on medium heat. Remove the chicken to the plate.

Add artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and lemon juice to the same skillet.  Stir to combine, on medium heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Add 2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil, stir in to combine.  Push the vegetables to the sides of the skillet, and add the chicken back.  Cook the chicken and the vegetables on low-medium heat for about 5-10 more minutes, covered, until the chicken is completely cooked through and no longer pink in the center. Depending on your stove, you might have to cook either on medium or on medium-low heat to cook the chicken through.
Serve immediately.  Make sure to spoon the olive oil mixture of vegetables from the skillet over the chicken.